Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

When More is Better

Most cells in the body have two copies of each chromosome. But some cells,
including the sub-perineurial glia cells (nuclei labeled green) encasing this larval fruit fly brain
lobe, have an increase in DNA copy number. By studying cells like these, Whitehead Member
Terry Orr-Weaver investigates how and why cells increase or decrease copies of their DNA.

A scientific community exploring biology's most fundamental questions for the betterment of human health

Bartel Lab: Exploring small RNAs that regulate gene expression

Cheeseman Lab: Examining the kinetochore’s role in chromosome segregation and cell division

Fink Lab: Identifying the function of genes involved in intractable fungal infections

Gehring Lab: Studying epigenomic reprogramming during plant reproduction

Gupta Lab: Studying mechanisms that control cellular diversity in normal and cancerous tissues

Jaenisch Lab: Pursuing patient-specific pluripotent cells with which to study complex human diseases

Lindquist Lab: Exploring the ways protein folding determines an organism’s biological properties

Lodish Lab: Elucidating the mechanisms and modulators of red blood cell development

Orr-Weaver Lab: Studying DNA replication, chromosome segregation, and meiosis in the context of organismal development

Page Lab: Shedding new light on sex chromosome biology and evolution, the fetal origins of gametes, and infertility

Ploegh Lab: Elucidating the immune system’s response to invading viruses and bacteria

Reddien Lab: Investigating the cellular and molecular basis for regeneration

Sabatini Lab: Investigating the complex roles nutrients, cell growth, and metabolism play in aging and disease

Sive Lab: Using zebrafish to study vertebrate brain development and the genetic basis of human mental health disorders

Weinberg Lab: Deciphering the drivers of cancer cell invasion and metastasis

Weng Lab: Studying plant metabolism and its link to complex disease biology

Young Lab: Mapping the regulatory circuitry that controls cell state and differentiation in mice and humans

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News

April 23, 2014

From liability to viability: Genes on the Y chromosome prove essential for male survival

The human Y chromosome has over the course of millions of years of evolution managed to preserve a small set of genes that has ensured not only its own survival but also the survival of men. Moreover, the vast majority of these tenacious genes appear to have little if any role in sex determination or sperm production. Taken together, these remarkable finding suggest that because these Y-linked genes are active across the body, they may actually be contributing to differences in disease susceptibility and severity observed between men and women.

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